Selling Tips
8 min read

The Pros and Cons of Selling on Amazon and eBay

We compiled the top pros and cons of selling on Amazon and eBay to help you decide which platform suits your selling style.
Written by
Alize Mendez
Published on
November 22, 2023

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eBay is without a doubt an eCommerce giant — and it’s the OG of online shopping! But while being the OG may give eBay serious claim to the eCommerce kingdom, Amazon is right up there with the same level of success. When becoming an online retail seller, there are a lot of great outlets to choose from when setting up a virtual shop, and you really can’t say no to the meccas that are eBay and Amazon. But regardless of their clout, eBay and Amazon are not without some cons to go with all the great pros when it comes to selling experience. Never fear — selling on eBay and Amazon doesn’t have to be daunting, and quite probably could be the best business decision you make. We’re here to help calm your nerves with a compiled mashup of the pros and cons of selling on Amazon and eBay below. Because once you’ve figured out just how to sell on Amazon and eBay, the next important question is — are these marketplaces a right fit for your business?

Selling on eBay and Amazon PROS

It’s a whole other search engine heaven

Move over google, yahoo, bing, and all the big search engine players. With eBay and Amazon, you have a fresh world of opportunity for customers who aren’t even looking for you to find you! You’ll set up your storefront and products on Amazon and eBay much like you do for your own site when attempting to best show up in Google searches, however with the Amazon and eBay marketplace, you have even more options to increase your visibility. SEO words are not the only thing to pay attention to. Naming your products, title pages, and tags are all brilliant ways to show upfront and center to new customers looking for exactly what you are offering. And the best thing is that shoppers actually don’t have to see you in original search results to find you. Amazon and eBay have an awesome feature in which your products are ‘suggest similar items you might like’ on other product pages. Furthermore, you can be discovered by a shopper even after they’ve left the eBay or Amazon site. Both eCommerce moguls send out emails to shoppers after they’ve browsed around or purchased something with included suggestions of things they might like to buy — and there you are! In one click through an email that you didn’t even send yourself, brand new customers can discover you with ease. eBay recently unveiled a new feature that lets sellers send direct offers to buyers that were watching a particular listing. This is an entire branch of new marketing that’s done for you, taking off one of the billion things you have on your list as a business owner.

There is a certain comfort in the eCommerce OG’s

Your business website storefront may be the bee’s knees, but it doesn’t take away from the reality of an unwavering universal truth — consumers just feel more secure shopping on the online marketplace giants of eBay and Amazon. From long-standing prime shipping options on Amazon to Buy It Now options from eBay to the straight-laced return policies always in the customer’s favor, buyers go directly to what they feel is the easiest and safest place to use their credit card and credentials. Plus, it’s a one-stop-shop for buyers that they can conveniently do in their pajamas in the comfort of their home while deciding on best purchase options for them from the plethora of other buyer reviews and suggestions from the marketplace itself. When you bring your business to Amazon or eBay, essentially you’re bringing comfort and ease to consumers, and that is a huge pillar of being a successful brand.

You’ll increase your sales exponentially

Did you know that sellers report an average fifty percent increase in sales when taking their wares to eBay and Amazon? If you haven’t gotten the gist by now that bringing your business to Amazon and eBay will greatly affect your exposure in a positive way, well, here it is! These retail giants average over 230 million shoppers — a day! Not to mention that yearly sales average over $170 billion! (Do I hear a rolling cash register sound dinging in your head now?) And when you look at all that traffic, there’s really only one question: can your business do without being on Amazon or eBay? Or better yet, why would you want it to?

Setting Up Amazon Seller Account

The process is clean and simplified for you as the seller.

Paying Amazon and eBay fees to sell on their marketplace may make you grimace understandable, but there is a bright side to working with these online retail leaders. Every single step is streamlined, starting with setting up your storefront to selling to Amazon and eBay seller support to what comes after a sale in the form of reviews or returns. And, as mentioned earlier, there’s a whole part of marketing such as consumer suggestions and emails Amazon and eBay regularly send their customers that you don’t have to spend your precious business time on. Yes, you’re releasing a percentage of fees from earnings but those fees are paying for something worthwhile.

Selling on eBay and Amazon CONS

eBay Category Fees

Oh, those pesky seller fees

We’ll knock this one out of the way first — losing a percentage of your sales to eBay or Amazon is a kick in the stomach. As mentioned in the pro list, there is a bright side to the fees, as they do go towards something valuable to you as a business owner. However, overall, no one wants to give away their hard-earned money to a third party, which is exactly what you’re doing if you choose to take your storefront to eBay and Amazon. Fees can differ between products, too, so you have to do your math homework when figuring out how to price your products and if some of them are even worth selling on eBay or Amazon. Unfortunately, you will sometimes find that you leave a product or two off of the eBay and Amazon marketplaces because you simply can’t make the price increase add up fairly for customers in order to pay your required fees.

Glitches are inevitable

When selling in the online world, glitches happen. Sometimes things don’t sync correctly, sometimes certain processes lag or temporarily fail. But when you’re working with a third-party site like Amazon or eBay, the technical difficulties that can arise are out of your control, and sometimes you won’t even know they’ve happened until it’s too late. A prime example is correct automatic inventory failing, causing your counts to be off in comparison to what people keep in their carts, return, or have already bought. This creates another step of work for you to manually always keep an eye on things like this that could hurt your business and books, that you otherwise probably wouldn’t have to deal with on your own website.

You’re not the only boss

In fact, when working with eBay and Amazon, you’re not the boss at all in reality. While there are aspects that can work for you when it comes to visibility, exposure, and overall increased sales, on the flip side you’re extremely restricted. Amazon and eBay reserve the right to limit everything about your storefront, what you sell, how you interact with customers, and basically your overall brand presence. In short, every single thing, big and small, about your business on Amazon or eBay is at the mercy of the giants. You’ll have to be the one to ultimately decide if giving up that much control is worth all the benefits Amazon and eBay can offer your business.

Reviews can be tricky

Piggybacking off number three on this con list, you’re not in control of your reviews, either. Amazon specifically has an algorithm that constantly scans the wide marketplace for fake, paid, or suspicious reviews. And an algorithm doesn’t always get it right — meaning you could fall prey to losing reviews at random if the algorithm bot incorrectly senses something off in your customer reviews that aren’t actually off at all. And though you can let Amazon know if there’s been a mistake, once a review is gone, it’s gone.

Now that you’ve got all the information at your fingertips, and you’ve had time to muse over whether or not to bring your business to eBay and Amazon, what will you choose? Amazon, eBay, or both? It also helps to really examine what your brand looks like and exactly what you’re selling. But truthfully, the bottom line is this: Amazon and eBay without a doubt will offer you more exposure, increase your sales, and help you to further build your brand. It begs the question if any smart or successful seller really can afford to not be apart of these two eCommerce trailblazers.

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